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Violent attempts to halt broadcasting of TV interview leave guard injured, equipment damaged

(ANEM/IFEX) - The following is an 8 October 2007 ANEM statement:

UNACCEPTABLE ATTACKS ON MEDIA IN NOVI PAZAR

BELGRADE, October 8, 2007 - The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) most strenuously protests attacks against two television stations in Novi Pazar: its member TV Jedinstvo, and Regionalna Televizija, which appear to be the most recent demonstration of rifts within the Islamic religious community.

On the night of 7 October 2007, the premises of Regionalna Televizija and TV Jedinstvo in Novi Pazar were simultaneously broken into by unknown attackers during the broadcast of an interview with Adem Zilkic, head of the Islamic community in Serbia. The interview was pre-recorded, and according to the agreement reached by senior editors of the two outlets, it was aired simultaneously on the two television stations. A security guard from Regionalna TV Novi Pazar, Fehim Bandzovic, was seriously injured when one of the attackers tried to force their way into the station during the broadcast. Almost at the same time, around 9:30 p.m. (local time), another masked and armed attacker forced his way into the premises of TV Jedinstvo. He pointed a gun at the programme producer and struck at the equipment with a wooden club until the broadcast was halted. Media have also reported that Ramiz Etemovic, an editor with TV Jedinstvo, was injured during this attack.

ANEM considers each attempt at limiting free access to public information absolutely unacceptable, and seriously condemns the physical attacks on journalists and editorial committees who are doing their job of informing the general public about the issues they are entitled to be informed about. The existing rifts within the Islamic community can certainly be defined as an example of such issues.

ANEM demands that relevant institutions and bodies immediately undertake all activities and measures at their disposal to identify and bring charges against the attackers on these Novi Pazar-based media outlets, to ensure all the necessary conditions required for all journalists to work without obstruction, both in Novi Pazar and other towns in Serbia, and to fully safeguard the uninterrupted flow of ideas and information.

ANEM particularly appeals to all media and journalists' associations to openly show their solidarity with TV Jedinstvo and Regionalna Televizija in Novi Pazar, and with all the other media outlets and journalists that are subjected to pressure, threats and attacks because of their work.

Sasa Mirkovic,
ANEM Chairman

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